Teen hamburglar caught Mc'thieving it

Last updated 13:39 21/08/2014

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A Palmerston North teenager has been caught stealing hundreds of dollars worth of food from McDonald's, often taking meat patties home for his flatmates to throw on the barbecue. 

Steven Proctor pleaded guilty in the Palmerston North District Court today to stealing food from his former employer.

The 19-year-old worked at McDonald's in Palmerston North for three years, working his way up to doing training at the Rangitikei St branch.

He had a key to the storage fridges at the burger joint, and used it between January and July this year to help himself to chicken products and other food.

A stocktake by McDonald's found $25,000 of food went missing in that time, and Proctor was initially charged with taking it all.

The charge was amended today, stating Proctor was responsible for stealing $700 of food.

Prosecutor Sergeant Mike Toon said it was amended  ''to achieve a resolution.''

Defence lawyer Jock Turnbull said the offending started as ''a bit of a joke''.

Food prepared at the store was put aside after it was past its sell-by date, and was subsequently taken, he said.

''Staff would use or take the food not able to be sold, and eat it themselves on breaks.

''Some supervisors said it was okay and some that it was not.

''It became a bit of a game to take food that was not suitable to sell.''

The offending escalated when his flatmates became involved, Turnbull said.

''The people flatting with him, knowing he had access, would be having a barbecue on the weekend and would say he should get them some patties or something.''

Proctor claimed he was one of four McDonald's employees asked about the stealing, but was the only one charged, Turnbull said.

Proctor told the court he had since got casual work as a bartender, and was only bringing in $60 a week.

Judge Jennifer Binns said the thefts were a breach of trust.

While serious offending, he had no previous convictions and was young at the time, she said.

Proctor was convicted and fined $250.

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- Manawatu Standard

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